Newdegate shakes with region’s biggest quake in 21 years

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
There were several earthquakes in the Great Southern last week.
Camera IconThere were several earthquakes in the Great Southern last week. Credit: Geoscience Australia

Walls and windows shook from Newdegate to Dumbleyung last Thursday night, as the area’s biggest earthquake in 21 years sent pets into a frenzy and had homeowners fearing for the worst.

The magnitude 4.3 earthquake hit at around 10.30pm, roughly 25km east of the small Great Southern town of about 170 people.

Jarred Offer lives a couple of kilometres from the epicentre.

He had just got home from football training and lit a fire when the first shakes came rumbling through.

He said the main earthquake, which was sandwiched between two smaller tremors, felt like “a road train going through the front window”.

“(I) got the fire started . . . and then the house started shaking — I thought the fire had exploded,” he said.

“The older farmers had never felt anything like it before.”

The tremor was recorded about 25km east of Newdegate at about 10.30pm, which meant many locals slept through it.

At magnitude 4.3 it was the biggest recorded tremor for the region since 1998 when a magnitude 4.5 tremor was reported near Kuringup, about 94km away.

For Newdegate resident of 15 years Kathlene Shalders, the shaking caused mayhem at home.

“I was sitting on the couch watching TV . . . (then) my couch started to rock for five to 10 seconds,” she said.

“The cat took off, my dog out the back ran to the door.

“At first I thought it was a truck — I had a look out the window and it wasn’t that. My second thought was it could be an earthquake.

“It felt like it came up from underneath the house.”

Claire Ness had a similar experience.

“The dog was freaking out,” she said.

“I was in bed, but the windows rattled and it fairly shook the house — you could feel it move from one end of the house to the next.”

Geoscience Australia senior duty seismologist Dan Connolly said the earthquakes were unlikely to be related to two earthquakes of more than 5.0 magnitude in Albany last year that shook homes across the South West.

He said about 70 smaller earthquakes had been recorded around Newdegate in the past 10 years.

“As far as Australia goes, there is a fair bit of activity there (around Newdegate),” he said.

Mr Connolly said residents could help the organisation chart tremors by reporting earthquakes they had felt at earthquakes.ga.gov.au.

Smaller tremors were recorded in the Great Southern region in the days after the Newdegate quake.

A magnitude 2.3 tremor was recorded north-east of Katanning at 8pm on Friday, while another magnitude 2.3 tremor was recorded east of Tambellup in the early hours of Saturday.

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